Chatting with a Builder

HelloIOTA Question 1

We’ve enjoyed interviewing a few different community members to get their feel for where the IOTA community has been, and where they think it might be going. I believe you’ve been around the project since the very early days, so it’ll be a treat to pick your brain about how you came to find crypto, IOTA, and how you think about the world. Maybe we can start with a quick introduction to who you are, what your interests are, and anything else you’d like to say.

I’m supposed to be a traditional corporate guy. Graduated from a Parisian business school, I worked in the hospitality industry as a Director of Sales & Marketing for a large chain and in the real estate industry where I was managing administrative and sales teams on a regional scale. I was supposed to be really happy with the benefits I had until I realized I was so unhappy about that and I really wanted to do something that moves me from the inside. I decided to quit my job and actually any job. I just quit, I packed and I traveled to Asia for a few months.

HelloIOTA Question 2

Do you remember when you first came across cryptocurrencies? It must have been Bitcoin or Ethereum, but maybe not. What are a few things you remember from those early revelations about the space? Did crypto resonate with you because of past life experiences/knowledge/expertise (as a programmer, engineer, etc.)?

I’m what I call a phase 2 crypto enthusiast. Phase 1 are the real OG’s and phase 3 are the 2017 joiners. I remember reading about bitcoin in 2011, which I googled and didn’t understand, very simply. I was doing real estate back in the day, managing a few agencies for a big French brand, had a big team, corporate benefits and all the exciting stuff except … I wasn’t excited! It was all about political strategy and you didn’t have to be efficient to be top of the executives, you just had to be good with politics. I still did it for 10 years and one day I just decided I will not work anymore for something that doesn’t deeply move me from the inside. I quit my job, packed a few t-shirts and underwear and stayed a few months between Hong Kong and mainland China. It was the perfect timing to take the time to think about my next move while being in such a dynamic and constantly moving society. I discovered great people, great places and of course, in Hong Kong, you’re never far away from business and finance. But the game changer was in a town called Kunming in the southeast of China. That’s a pretty small town with only 7 million inhabitants ;) known as the spring city of China where the weather is always sweet and nice. That’s why every morning I was going for a “café” facing the park. And every morning, there were those guys sitting with a laptop staring at charts which I couldn’t tell what they were. After a few days, I went to one of those guys and asked what it was and the guy said “bitcoin”. And this is exactly how it started. From that moment I read everything I could and quickly understood the only way to make it through was to first understand the security and how you actually make it safe to be the sole person responsible for your assets. It took me nearly 1 year before I decided to buy my first bitcoin. After all those years, I never had any intention of going back to the traditional corporate world. I wanted what we know now as remote teams, absolute trust in terms of commitment, strong personal attachment and being the promoters, as much as we can, of a corporate world dedicated to fairness and aware of the consequences of every little choice we make.

HelloIOTA Question 3

Building off of that question, let’s discuss how you came to find IOTA. We’re always surprised to chat with people who got interested in IOTA so long ago since it was such a niche project. You almost had to be specifically looking for a project like this. What resonated early on with you about IOTA?

I exactly remember how I found out about IOTA. I was thinking a lot of where bitcoin and main alts would go over the years, what were their weaknesses and what was the main issue for adoption. I ended up thinking the future of cryptos is stable coins (don't judge me on this; that’s what happens after weeks and weeks of thinking alone like Tom Hanks in Castaway :D). And then I started to google “stable coins” and for some mysterious reasons, my end-game request on google returned IOTA. I immediately understood IOTA is not a stable coin (or maybe it is since we’re stuck in that price range for ever :D but there is also this non-speculation talk mindset around IOTA that I respect, so I will not talk too much about the price or trading… At least for them.). So it wasn’t a stable coin but it was so interesting. The idea of fee-less nano transactions is what turned me on, especially since it was presented as the solution to bitcoin's non-scalability, and the way the network could handle high loads of transactions. It’s not about “tomorrow’s world will be connected”, this is where we are already but indeed tomorrow will be even more connected and devices will need to achieve nano transactions.

Say I’m sitting somewhere and I’m planning to have a “café” for one hour (le French needs café) at a nice terrace, I’m charging my phone while I’m there but after 30 seconds, dang, call from work I have to leave! From here, I put myself in the perspective of a charging service provider, I wanna be able to catch all that non-exploited source of revenue occurring everywhere, every time, and massively. The same applies to any kind of service which today, because of fees, can’t be addressed. 

HelloIOTA Question 4

I think our readership can derive a lot of value by hearing about your experience in the early IOTA community. Being a part of the early stages of a grassroots movement, like you were, can be a formative experience. Do you have any stories from those early days? Made any friends? What did those early days feel like? What was the culture around the project like? How did the growth feel in the moment?

It may sound silly but crypto groups are like a brotherhood where people back each other and whether it is for IOTA or any other cryptos, people who have been here for a long time are involved in those smaller groups of users, whether they be on slack or discord. The trust we built with each other over the years is strong and we’ve seen our fair share of fake ICOs, exit scams, and so on. Along the way, some of us became real friends that meet for drinks, dinners, weekends and even holidays! Now if you ask me about the most exciting IOTA moment ever, I will have to make sure you promise you won’t laugh too hard at me! It was the release of the first GUI wallet. At that time it was thousands of users finally able to send transactions of their precious IOTA, and consequently discovering about reattaching :D and more importantly to always remember to not pass out as soon as you see 0 balance on your seed! This wallet sucked big time. Still, it was exciting and fun, and it really showed that IOTA is made of a huge community.

HelloIOTA Question 5

You’ve dedicated the next portion of your life to building a new crypto trading platform. The name is Cryptonovae - we’re certainly not here to do a promotion - but we do highly value your mindset on this sort of a decision. Talk about how you came to decide that a trading platform was needed by the market, how you settled on the technical implementation, and who else you’re working with. What problem were you trying to solve with this project, and where do you see the project going in the next year? Hopefully your story about cryptocurrency entrepreneurship can inspire someone else to dedicate their energy toward adding another piece to the crypto platform in general, and show the community that there are endless possibilities.

Cryptonovae, as its prime piece, is a tool dedicated to traders. It serves all the needs of regular traders and creates a homogeneous experience among all the connected exchanges. It comes with a powerful charting engine where you can create as many windows as you want on as many screens as you want. And I say “windows” on purpose, as it’s not only charts you can display, but trading analysis, bot monitoring, position maintenance, etc. The second piece serves the trading platform in the form of a marketplace. Because additionally to the tools cited above, you can create your own indicators and/or automated trading systems and use them on the platform. If you’re not a coder, the marketplace will list items and you could even request a custom development based on your trading strategies ideas or custom indicators needs.

2021 will be exciting as this is the year we go to market. Funding is ongoing through a token offering as we believe it’s the most consistent choice and we have so many opportunities to give our token a concrete usage. We already  developed an Alpha version which is fully functional on Binance and Kraken. It’s 12 people in the team so far and we expect to open a lot of positions when the funding is complete. 

HelloIOTA Question 6

We like to hear about the grind of building new projects - can you talk about your expectations before starting the project? After starting it, were there any roadblocks or difficulties? What was something that surprised you in a positive way? Is there a hard-earned piece of advice that you might give to other aspiring crypto entrepreneurs and builders out there?

I think there’s no way around hard work. You might be lucky and achieve success quickly but this is not the standards of how it usually works. The market is flooded with new ideas and projects and each of them is held by someone thinking theirs no better project out there. Business Angels and VC’s receive hundreds of pitch decks every day and on the crypto scene, even though ICO’s are doing better at the moment, it’s thousands of tokens trying to make their way up to a successful fundraising. First thing to focus on, in my opinion, is to make your project understandable by someone who doesn’t know anything about your industry. Because one of the traps you’ll meet on the way is, you’re so deep into your ideas and thinking process that you think people will understand what you do. Truth is, they don’t! But they will never tell you ;) So, make it impactful, direct and clear.

HelloIOTA Question 7

Like so many others, you’re currently forced to build your project on Ethereum since IOTA has not yet reached the stage of being production ready. Nonetheless, IOTA will someday be there as well, and you’ve remained an active part of this community. Talk about how you see the entire crypto space playing out over this next 4 year BTC halving cycle. Ethereum is moving to PoS and IOTA might be on track to implement Coordicide before 2022. In your experience working with smart contract platforms and being around the IOTA community for so long, we’d get a lot from your thoughts on how ETH2.0 and IOTA Coo might fit together five years down the road. Is there a winner-take-all scenario in the smart contract world? Multiple protocols that share the load? 

I don’t think there is a winner takes all scenario. In my opinion, one of the strengths of IOTA is being a European brand and being so gives it a competitive advantage long term compared to Ethereum. But whatever happens, Ethereum is still ahead of IOTA and not by a short distance. Recent development around the DeFi space opened up a new dimension for ETH and lots of use-cases and products are being built on top of Ethereum at the moment. Not to mention ETH2.0 which went live where most of the crypto watchers thought it would be delayed. Their community is huge and extremely active and new tools are being developed constantly.

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